Bring Your own Device (BYOD) initiatives are gaining attention from businesses of all sizes. By all accounts BYOD is here to stay – we have entered the collaborative era. Most small businesses, whether their at the early or more established stage, must understand the implications of BYOD and consider how it can work best for employees and the bottom-line.
In light of a more mobile-savvy workforce, entrepreneurs should take heed of the benefits BYOD trends deliver rather than focus on what it often perceived as – a ‘major network security risk’.
BYOD Basics for Small Business
BYOD falls within the trend of information technology (IT) consumerization. It refers to staff and business partners who bring their own computing devices – such as smartphones, laptops and PDAs – into the workplace and connect to corporate IT networks.
The trend implies that staff have incremental influence when it comes to using and adopting their preferred technology in the workplace. In fact, it’s not just BYOD any more … the trend has evolved into bring your own apps, cloud, WLAN and more.
Businesses Respond to BYOD
According to InformationWeek’s 2013 State of Mobile Security report, a survey of 424 technology professionals, found that 68% of those polled said their mobility policy allows employees to use personal mobile phones for work, with 20% saying they are developing such a policy.
In a global survey of CIOs by Gartner. Inc.’s Executive Programs, finding suggest that in the light of what it terms the ’Nexus of Forces’ by 2017 half of businesses will require staff to supply their own devices as a workplace requirement. In other words, firms will stop buying and deploying devices due of the current shift in device ownership.
This prediction falls in line with the rapid expansion of smart devices as a market sector. Analyst house, IDC, has issued a forecast which indicates tablet sales will overtake laptops and notebooks in 2013 and that of total PC shipments in 2015. As such, it will be viewed as a standard for people to bring and use their own devices into work — regardless if your firm implements a BYOD imperative or not.
Ultimately these trends signal for small businesses to act now and learn how to make BYOD work best for them.
How BYOD Empowers Your Business
It’s clear that BYOD is both a technology and a business strategy. With an understanding of these twin demands, many small business owners recognize the pressing requirement to own BYOD and harness its positive effects.
The prominent benefits of BYOD is the ability to make a workforce more agile, a business more mobile, and networks even more secure. When planned properly the results can be powerful and transformative.
Here are five key advantages to adopting BYOD practices in the workplace:
Make mobile a transformative company culture strategy.
A mobile device management (MDM) strategy enables a business to get its act together when it comes to auditing, defining and deploying a systematic use and delivery of mobile devices. BYOD strengthens this approach. It puts a stamp on the cultural change which moves away from an employee’s fixed use of organizational technology and services to one which chimes with the times and gives staff more flexibility to work remotely, creatively, and quickly.
Strengthen your move to the cloud.
Doing business in the cloud means that there is no need for fixed, physical IT infrastructure or networking. Putting all of your company data into the cloud lowers IT costs and means those with smart devices can carry out business tasks wherever and at whatever time without the need to go into a particular site to access systems on a set schedule.
Improve real-time productivity and staff engagement.
Since employees are already using BYOD for their own needs, company endorsement of the trend means each member of your staff becomes happier, improves productivity, and delivers real-time results anywhere. This is further enhanced when secure remote support solutions are integrated into your company’s IT systems, thereby helping to maintain real-time customer service efforts.
Create a smarter, more skilled workforce.
With BYOD you and your employees can use the tools need to get things done. For instance, an HR manager can respond more robustly and quickly to keep tabs on opportunities by using BYOD to attract and retain the best talent. In another case, business managers who carry devices into meetings can action document requests and changes immediately which serves to speed up the delivery of projects. This results in more projects being developed and delivered in tighter workflow timescales. The big-picture take away is that productivity is enhanced, which translates into increased revenues.
Tighten IT security.
IT managers must retain total control over a infrastructure, network and security issues. BYOD handles this piece of the puzzle for your IT manager so that your data is thoroughly safeguarded against security issues. For instance, a BYOD policy can cover which devices can and cannot be used by staff, allowed apps, and what corporate data should be transferred, stored and wiped. You can remain in control of your IT strategy, as opposed to employees or independent contractors who may take a self-interest BYOD approach.
BYOD can bring massive benefits to a growing company. Many employees already admit they check their smart devices at work at least once a day. Therefore, taking a proactive stance can help your business profit from the trend and allow you to support the structured management of BYOD within an evolving IT environment.
Laura Abrar has developed her career in PR and communications for leading global technology brands, as well as in digital marketing for SMEs in the United Kingdom.